(Adds energy minister’s quote, context)
MEXICO CITY, July 18 (Reuters) - Mexican Energy Minister Rocio Nahle said on Thursday that a planned $8 billion refinery at the Gulf coast port of Dos Bocas would not be canceled.
Investors and ratings agencies have criticized the project over concerns that it would divert funds away from Mexican state oil company Pemex’s more profitable exploration and production business.
“This government will build it,” Nahle said in a radio interview. “Why would we backtrack on that? It is a viable project, it’s a necessary project, it’s a Pemex project.”
The refinery in President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s home state of Tabasco was a signature campaign promise of the left-leaning energy nationalist. Lopez Obrador has said the refinery would help Mexico wean itself off its growing reliance on fuel imports, the vast majority of which come from U.S. refiners. (Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez and Stefanie Eschenbacher; editing by Grant McCool)